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You don’t need to be a mechanic to take care of your car. Maintenance is extremely important if you want your vehicle to last a long time. Even when you don’t want to spend the time to become a car expert, there are some car maintenance items you should know to avoid frequent visits to the auto repair shop.

Why is car maintenance important?

Proper Car Maintenance Could Avoid facing a Broken Down Truck with steam coming out, which requires a visit to the auto repair shop
Broken Down Truck | Wiki Commons

Kelley Blue Book tells us that proper care and maintenance of your vehicle ensures your car has the best chance of working properly. Yes, maintenance costs money, but the small amount you’ll pay to take care of your vehicle can help you avoid costly auto repair visits. With that in mind, let’s discuss some car maintenance items that every driver should know.

You should know how to add windshield wiper fluid to your car

Adding Wiper Fluid to a Car
Adding Wiper Fluid to a Car | Wiki Commons

How do you add wiper fluid to your vehicle? This is covered in every owner’s manual, which means the instructions are in your vehicle’s glovebox. Adding this fluid is simple and buying a gallon of wiper fluid is much cheaper than visiting a service station to have a technician add it for you. Putting in wiper fluid only requires you to open the hood, find the fluid reservoir, and pour in the wiper fluid. That’s it; you’re done.

You should be able to check your oil level to avoid unnecessary auto repair visits

Checking the Engine Oil Level using the dipstick
Checking the Engine Oil Level | Wiki Commons

Engine oil lubricates your engine and keeps things working right. This fluid is essential to your vehicle’s function. Most cars have an oil dipstick which is a long stick that reaches into the oil reservoir under the engine. Pull out the dipstick, wipe it off, reinsert it, and pull it out again. Once you pull it out the second time, check the oil level on the markers. If there’s not enough oil, add some to your vehicle or take it to the maintenance shop to be added.

Checking your tire pressure is a monthly car maintenance item you can handle

Minding your tire pressure is an essential winterization practice when preparing for winter driving.
Mind your tire pressure to avoid flats and blowouts | Amer Hilabi, AFP via Getty Images

The only part of your car that touches the road is the tires. Proper tire pressure is essential for your car to feel safe, perform right on the road, and provide the best fuel mileage during your drive. While you’re stopped to fill your gas tank, check your tire pressure at least once a month. All you need is a tire pressure gauge and the right pressure level, which is listed on the inside of your driver’s door and in the owner’s manual.

Do you know how to jump-start your car?

Jumper Cables being connected to a car battery
Jumper Cables | Wiki Commons

Have you got a set of black and red wires with alligator clips on each end in your trunk? Do you know what they are for? These are jumper cables, and they help you jump-start your car when the battery dies. If this happens, you’ll need another car to help power up your battery. Connect positive to positive and negative to negative from one car to the other, and let the power from a working vehicle power up your battery.

Replacing the engine air filter is an easy car maintenance item

Engine Air Filter with a dirty and new one pictured
Engine Air Filter | Wiki Commons

Your engine air filter is typically located in a box on top of the engine bay. It’s easy to find, and your air filter is easy to replace. Buy the right filter for your vehicle at the auto parts store, open the filter box, and replace the filter. It’s that easy. If you’re not sure whether or not it’s time to replace the filter, take the old one out and inspect it. If you see a lot of debris in the areas between filter fins, it’s time for a new one.

These five car maintenance items can help you avoid the extra costs of heading to the auto repair shop for every service item.

Next, check out how to properly use your hazard lights, or watch the video below from with ten maintenance items every car owner should know.

This article was updated on 12/7/2022.